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Dan Wheldon 1978-2011
2009 Photo From Chicagoland Speedway
The Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund
The Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund has been established for the financial security of Wheldon's family. The public can make contributions to the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund at the following address:
Fifth Third Private Bank
Attn: Dan Wheldon Family Trust
251 North Illinois St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
All of Fifth Third Bank's Indianapolis branches also are accepting contributions in person, which will be routed to the account.
In lieu of flowers, friends and fans also can choose to make a donation to the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund or the Alzheimer's Association, a cause close to his heart.
For more details, visit http://www.alz.org or
http://www.danwheldonmemorial.com, a memorial site, which includes a Facebook link to leave condolences and remembrances and a career photo retrospective.
Those wishing to send their sympathy and condolences to the Wheldon family, can address letters to:
9600 Koger Blvd N, Ste. 105
St Petersburg, FL 33702
INDYCAR public memorial service, Sunday October 23, 2011
WHELDON CHERISHED AS GREAT MAN, CHAMPION AT INDY MEMORIAL
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011 - Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was remembered as a great race driver - but more importantly, as a wonderful father, husband, friend and man - at a public memorial service Sunday, Oct. 23 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
A large crowd, including Wheldon's wife, Susie, and family, gathered to cherish the life of Wheldon, who suffered fatal injuries in a racing accident Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Speakers shared thoughts, memories, laughter and tears about 2005 IZOD IndyCar Series champion Wheldon, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and 2011. Many anecdotes during the 90-minute ceremony centered on Wheldon's skill as a driver, zest for life and practical jokes, love of family and friends, and obsession with neatness.
"I love him like a brother," said former teammate Tony Kanaan, a close friend of Wheldon. "I'm grateful for the time we got to spend with him on Earth. Although that time here is done, our time together is not over. We have our memories. We have our feelings. And one day we will be together again.
"For that reason, I'm not saying goodbye to Dan. Not today. And not ever. Goodbye is final, and our friendship won't end. So for now, I'm simply saying I'll see you later. I love you."
Photo By Joe Paolella
Said two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, another former teammate and close friend: "At first, Dan was pretty much the little brother we didn't want. And now, we would do anything to have him back. We miss you, D-Dub."
Other speakers included team owner and former teammate Bryan Herta, Wheldon's representatives Adrian Sussman and Mickey Ryan, INDYCAR Chief Executive Officer Randy Bernard, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus, Target Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Mike Hull, friends and associates Mike Kitchel, Benito Santos and Misty Gibbs, INDYCAR Ministry Director and Chaplain Bob Hills, and masters of ceremonies Bob Jenkins and Marty Reid.
Musical performances also were poignant during the one-hour ceremony. Country music superstar Reba McEntire sang "If I Had Only Known" at the start of the service, while rising stars The Band Perry performed "Amazing Grace." Country superstar Garth Brooks closed the ceremony with an acoustic version of his hit "The Dance."
Also performing were the Indianapolis Children's Choir and the "Indianapolis 500" Gordon Pipers bagpipe group, an Indianapolis Motor Speedway tradition during Wheldon's beloved Month of May.
Numerous still photos and video clips from throughout Wheldon's life captured his skill, flair, spirit and warmth during the ceremony, including a video of thanks from his family.
Decorating the stage were the Borg-Warner Trophy awarded to the winner of the Indianapolis 500, the Indianapolis 500 winner's wreath, two bottles of milk signifying Wheldon's two Indy 500 victories, the Indy Racing League championship trophy that Wheldon won in 2005 and a 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series car painted in the St. George's cross of Wheldon's native England.
Other tributes to Wheldon included Franchitti, Kanaan and Herta wearing Wheldon's 2005 championship ring and Franchitti wearing white shoes in honor of Wheldon, a noted aficionado of style, fashion and shoes.
Fans were able to participate by signing banners in Conseco Fieldhouse, leaving condolences and memories.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died of head injuries after a spectacular 15-car wreck at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy said Monday.
The 33-year-old Wheldon was pronounced dead at 1:54 p.m. Sunday at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he was flown by medical helicopter after the crash at the track about 12 miles away.
After an autopsy, Murphy ruled the death an accident, the result of blunt trauma to the head due to motor vehicle collision, and offered condolences to friends and family of the married father of two from England.
"We'll be working with family and IndyCar officials and the attending physicians to fully review the case in an effort to improve safety for drivers," he told The Associated Press.
Three other drivers were injured in the fiery Lap 11 crash, none seriously.
Pippa Mann, 28, had surgery on a burned right pinkie finger and was released Monday, as was 23-year-old JR Hildebrand, who had a bruised sternum. Will Power, 30, was evaluated and released Sunday.
The race was called off after Wheldon's death was announced, although drivers drove a five-lap salute to their colleague.
What happened at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Sunday's IndyCar World Championships could best be described as a perfect storm of calamity.
There were so many factors at play that resulted in the 15-car crash that killed reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon. Sadly, nearly every driver in the IndyCar Series feared and predicted that a calamity would happen in this race for a variety of reasons.
"The track is so smooth we will be three-wide out there," Danica Patrick projected last Thursday after she was the fastest in practice. "The race will be crazy and the crashes spectacular."
During the two-hour red-flag period Sunday, when the race was stopped followed the Lap 11 crash, I had a chance to talk to Patrick in her pit area.
"Remember me saying that on Thursday?" she asked. "I guess it was prophetic. We all feared there would be a major crash at this race because this track has so much grip and was so easy to drive that it would create a pack. This certainly isn't how I want to end my IndyCar career."
At the time she made those comments, no one knew for sure that Wheldon, the popular driver from Emberton, England, who won his second Indianapolis 500 on May 29, was dead. But the reports from drivers who had been in the infield care center began to circulate around pit lane that Wheldon did not make it. Of course, without an official announcement everything was rumored and drivers such as Patrick, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and others hoped and prayed for the best.
That the 19 drivers remaining in competition were called into a special meeting was an indication this race would not continue. A much lesser story than Wheldon's death was the massive damage done to the racecourse. There were huge gashes, ruts and divots in the asphalt from the cars that went airborne and landed upside down. A large portion of the catchfence was destroyed as well as the SAFER Barrier -- the Steel And Foam Energy Resistant wall that absorbs much of the impact of a crash. Developed by the University of Nebraska in conjunction with the IndyCar Series in the late 1990s, it was first installed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2001.
Today, the SAFER Barrier is required at all major racing facilities and it more than did its job in Sunday's crash because many more of the 15 drivers in that crash could have experienced more significant injuries.
But even with SAFER Barriers, Head and Neck Support (HANS) Devices and other major advancements in the sport, it is clear that auto racing is risky business. There is always an element of danger when drivers go into competition. They assume the risks when they strap themselves into the cockpits, and Wheldon fully understood those risks throughout his glorious career, which included Indy 500 victories in 2005 and 2011. He won 16 IndyCar races, including a then-record six in 2005 -- the year he won the series championship.
Wheldon's death was the first in the series since inexperienced driver Paul Dana was killed in a crash during a warmup session before the 2006 season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Ironically, Wheldon was the winner of the race held later that day.
After Sunday's massive spectacle of a crash, it became clear to IndyCar Series officials that it was pointless in continuing the event. One of the drivers involved in the crash that went airborne was Team Penske driver Will Power, who entered the race 18 points behind Franchitti in the battle for the championship. With Power out of competition, Franchitti clinched the title, although his fourth IndyCar crown comes with no celebration.
Power was vocal in his criticism of the formula of race cars competing at the wide, smooth, high-banked, 1.544-mile oval.
Dan Wheldon Photo Gallery.. Through the Years
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
2005 Indianapolis & Carb Day
Photos above by Mark Rotor
On winning the 2005 Indianapolis 500 ..
This has been a dream come true for me," Wheldon said. "I've loved the Indianapolis 500 ever since I was a little kid in England. And you can see what a race is. The best drivers in the world are here.
The best teams in the world. I'm having an emotional moment. I'm just so glad. Thank you very much everybody. Thanks to the Hulman-George family for giving everybody this race. It's the best in the world. These fans make this race. So does Indianapolis. It's the best place in the world right now."
2009 Indianapolis 500
2011 Indianapolis 500
Victory Lane Photos (Above) By Joe Paolella
2005 Peak 300 Winner and 2005 Indy Car Champion
2008 Peak 300
The Milwaukee Mile
2005 AJ Foyt 225
2007 AJ Foyt 225
When asked about her confrontation after the race… “She’s just feisty. There’s a lot of pressure on her because she has not won a race, and her teammates are (winning). I think in a situation like that, sometimes you get desperate. It’s never nice to come into contact with somebody.” (Did she shove you?): “She’s just being Danica. She’ll be fine when she calms down. She’s messing with the wrong person if she wants to get feisty. I’m a lot tougher than she is on track.”
Wheldon and Franchitti were racing hard for position when both were slowed momentarily exiting the corner, allowing Patrick to get a strong run on both of them. Patrick passed Franchitti and was able to pull alongside Wheldon down the front straightaway. Franchitti darted to the inside setting up a three-wide situation approaching the first turn. While Franchitti lifted, contact ensued with Wheldon entering the corner on the outside with Patrick on the inside. Patrick slid sideways between turns one and two and made a brilliant save but was forced to pit and lose a lap as her team needed to replace a steering arm.
Patrick was able to make the lap up and sliced her way forward to wind up with an eighth place result, her second straight top ten Milwaukee Mile IndyCar Series effort. As the drivers exited their machines on the pit lane, a frustrated Patrick confronted Wheldon and walked off after an apparently heated exchange.
“Brian Barnhart (Indy Racing League Official) always tells us ‘third man in should be the first man out’,” Franchitti said of the accident. “I was backing off when Dan (Wheldon) and Danica (Patrick) made contact.”
“Danica was just being Danica,” Wheldon retorted when asked about the two driver’s post-race discussion of the incident. “"I think she had a run on Dario, and I think she thought she was alongside me. Unfortunately for her, she wasn't. As she got out of it, I don't know what happened. She spun or dropped to the back. She's a little disgruntled, but as (race chief steward) Brian Barnhart says, what goes around comes around. She nearly put me in the wall at Indianapolis, and I certainly have no problems with anyone else on the track. I've been in this business long enough to know when someone is there and when somebody is not."
“The grass actually helped me, “Patrick continued, explaining how she kept the car from crashing. “When it hit the grass the front wheels slid more than the rear and I was able to keep it going. I actually felt proud of myself, but it’s frustrating to have a car like that and then have an end to the day like this. I don’t know how many eighth place finishes I have had, but I know I’ve had enough of them.”
2008 AJ Foyt 225
Photos By Joe Paolella (Below)
2009 AJ Foyt 225
Meijer 300 2008
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